Spontaneous intracranial hypotension and multilevel lumbar and cervical epidural blood spots: a case report

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a neurological situation during which stress throughout the cranium is decreased as a result of lack of cerebrospinal fluid from its reservoir, the intracranial house, to the encompassing tissues. It’s often characterised by miraculous headache, photophobia, nausea, and vomiting, and is often refractory to medical remedy and requires additional investigation.

We describe the case of a wholesome younger man who introduced to the emergency room with a postural headache accompanied by nausea, vomiting and photophobia. The mind CT examine was unremarkable and he was initially handled symptomatically. Due to the persistent ache even throughout medical remedy, further imaging research had been carried out, together with a spinal wire examination, and a multilevel cerebrospinal fluid fistula was recognized. To deal with the underlying trigger, a primary epidural blood patch (EBP) was initially carried out in C7-T1 with 20 mL of autologous blood, however failed to supply full symptomatic aid. Months later, a second EBP was carried out at C6-C7 with the next quantity (30 mL) however as within the first EBP, this process additionally didn’t end in whole decision of the headache and related signs. As there was no surgical indication from orthopedics and neurosurgery and signs endured, a 3rd EBP was carried out, this time on the lumbar degree (L2-L3) with infusion of 60 mL of blood till the epidural house above the again and cervix was reached. This resulted in higher symptom aid, now permitting the affected person to go about their regular actions with solely residual ache.

One of many drawbacks of the blood grafting method is the necessity to repeat the procedures. If potential, it needs to be carried out on the degree of the documented fistula, however all the time with security in thoughts and by skilled fingers, particularly when cervical ranges are involved. No consensus has been reached relating to the quantity of blood that needs to be administered. Nonetheless, any discomfort or ache reported by the affected person needs to be seen as a warning signal and the process needs to be interrupted. Though not an ideal answer, EBP can fully or partially resolve the signs of SIH, with out the necessity for surgical intervention.

an introduction

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a neurological situation, with an estimated annual incidence of 5 per 100,000, characterised by postural headache, related to phonophobia, nausea, vomiting, and malaise. [1,2]. Postural headache after cranial trauma, extreme bodily exertion, or violent coughing ought to increase suspicion of SIH [1]. Therapy with conservative measures corresponding to mattress relaxation, hydration, caffeine, and customary analgesics is usually short-lived and finally ineffective. [3]. As cervical fluidic fistulas are usually not regularly documented, knowledge is scarce relating to their remedy and efficacy stays extremely controversial. [2].

This case report contributes to present data about extra invasive methods as remedy choices for SIH, since there are only a few circumstances within the literature describing a cervical degree method.

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We current the case of a bodily lively, beforehand wholesome 34-year-old male, a Caucasian male from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), who introduced to the emergency room with a 2-month historical past of persistent postural headache that started whereas browsing. The day earlier than signs started, he had been doing gymnastics on a trampoline, as he had carried out recurrently. The ache was uninteresting, nonpulsating, rated 10 out of 10 on a numerical scale, was positioned within the occipital area, and radiated to each parietal areas. Died in a weak place. The accompanying signs had been nausea, vomiting, and photophobia. He described the ache as an impairment of actions of every day dwelling.

Blood and CT scans of the mind had been unremarkable, and the affected person was despatched dwelling on ache relievers. After two months of persistent signs regardless of medical remedy, a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistula was suspected and axonal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was carried out. MRI confirmed a number of cervical dorsal clusters of epidural CFS and potential dural continuity decision on the T2-T3 degree.

An epidural blood patch (EBP) was carried out on the C7-T1 degree, with the affected person positioned in the proper lateral recumbency (RLR) place. Utilizing the resistance loss method, an 18G Tuohy needle with a bevel dealing with the affected person’s proper aspect was used to inject 20 mL of autologous blood. The affected person was discharged with partial decision of signs, however with an indication once more vertigo.

After three months of persistent signs, myeloid computed tomography, with injection of a radioactive dye into the subarachnoid house, confirmed 5 CSF fistulas: C1-C2 bilaterally (Fig. 1 and form 2), C2-C3 proper (Fig. 3), C3-C4 left and C4-C5 proper (Fig. 4). A second cervical EBP was carried out with 30 ml of autologous blood injected on the C6-C7 degree with the bevel dealing with the cranium. There was vital scientific enchancment on the primary day after the process, and the affected person described a much less extreme headache that worsened with mild exertion, particularly within the morning, now unrelated to physique place.

Axial-C1-C2-level-myelo-CT-show-dual-talk-outside-the-subarachnoid-space- (red arrows), - as evidence of -C1-C2-CSF-fistulas.

Parasagittal - cervical - medulla - CT - contrast shows - outside - space - subarachnoid - (red arrow), - as a guide - on - right side - C1 - C2 - CSF - fistula.

Axial-C2-C3-level-myelo-CT-show-contrast-out-of-subarachnoid space (red arrow), - as a guide-on-right-side-C2-C3-CSF-fistula.

Axial-C4-C5-level-myelo-CT-show-contrast-out-of-subarachnoid space- (red arrow), - as a guide-on-right-side-C4-C5-CSF-fistula.

He was referred to neurology and began taking gabapentin and amitriptyline, with no enchancment in signs. After dialogue with orthopedics and neurosurgery, there was no surgical indication.

Two months later, a 3rd EBP, this time on the lumbar L2-L3 degree, was carried out once more with the affected person on the RLR within the Trendelenburg place at a 15° angle. Bevel was heading as much as get the cranium scattering. With the resistance loss method, 60 ml of autologous blood was injected, and solely partial enchancment was achieved.

All three blood stains had been carried out safely, with no antagonistic results moreover complaints of stress on the injection website. The initially deliberate quantity of blood is all the time totally injected.

Since then the affected person has began practising yoga and acquired a therapeutic massage that relieves signs. Cervical ache described as pressure-like ache (2 out of 10) persists now and is made worse by standing up shortly or bodily exertion (8 out of 10). It has bilateral occipital temporal radiation and can be related to photophobia. Nausea and vomiting subsided. A curious be aware is the affiliation between flares and intervals of decreased water consumption. When the ache is extreme, the affected person treats himself with paracetamol, which considerably improves signs.

Talk about

Though blood grafting is touted as an efficient remedy for orthostatic hypotension in CSF within the context of CSF fistulas, this scientific case demonstrates the potential for repeating procedures at completely different spinal ranges with a view to relieve signs and till then, incomplete decision of signs [4]. Extra invasive strategies, corresponding to surgical procedure, could also be wanted in fistulas documented on neuroimaging.

One of many important dangers of getting a blood graft is puncturing the dura mater and having access to the subarachnoid house, which might injury any buildings in it. As is thought, the spinal wire in adults ends in the beginning of the lumbar vertebrae, so needle punctures beneath this degree are safer since solely the cauda equina is positioned within the subarachnoid house. On this explicit case, the primary method would have been a lumbar EBP, as additionally it is simpler to carry out, however as a result of location of the documented fistulas, a cervical method was most well-liked. Right here, the epidural house is far narrower than on the lumbar ranges, so the quantity injected needs to be decrease accordingly.

This raises an vital query: What’s an applicable quantity of blood for infusion? The reply should consider a number of components, specifically the extent of the injection website, the pace of the injection, and the tolerability. A number of case stories describe small cervical method volumes (5-8 mL) [4] In comparison with the quantity of cervical blood spots (20 and 30 ml), all with out main security considerations. The pace of the injection can regulate the blood quantity as a result of the sluggish and regular motion permits the epidural house to be gently expanded with out vital signs. These depend upon the extent of EBP and should embrace spinal stress, numbness of a particular space (arm, leg), and even acute ache, all of which needs to be taken as warning indicators and beg the query whether or not to proceed or cease the process.

The affected person’s state of affairs might also be a variable that must be taken into consideration. Nonetheless, it’s essential that the operator is comfy {and professional}, for the reason that supine and lateral recumbent positions make for various instructions of needle motion that one might not be accustomed to. This effectivity speculation can be utilized in defining an epidural house, both by means of the lack of resistance or the suspension projection method. In our case on account of operator expertise, the affected person was in a lateral recumbent place and the resistance loss method was most well-liked.

The dialogue must also embrace the kind of fluid injected. These days, mostly, this method is completed by injecting new autologous complete blood taken from the affected person concurrently the process, however some advocate using platelet-rich plasma (PRP), in each circumstances with the intention of regenerating and therapeutic the broken tissues the place the fistula happens cerebrospinal fluid [5]. Each choices work by means of two completely different mechanisms: first and most instant, the rise in stress within the epidural house is transmitted to the subarachnoid house, and since intrathecal hypotension is achieved, a fast sensation of signs is achieved. The second long-acting mechanism, coagulation components current in each complete blood and platelet-rich plasma will create a blocker that forestalls cerebrospinal fluid from leaving the subarachnoid house, thus sustaining epidural integrity. Different choices to contemplate embrace steady infusion of epidural saline, fibrin glue, and finally surgical restore.


Our report demonstrates that exact, well-spaced, well timed procedures, whereas not fully profitable, had been capable of enhance our affected person’s high quality of life. After CSF fistula ranges had been documented, a custom-made method was essential. EBPs are mostly carried out within the obstetric setting, on the lumbar degree. Cervical EBP is an unusual method, primarily on account of its potential neurological issues. Unwanted side effects will be minimized when a number of precautions are taken into consideration, corresponding to spinal degree, blood quantity, affected person place, and method when figuring out the epidural house. Nonetheless, it seems to be a protected process in expert fingers.

As a result of questions surrounding the a number of variables when performing EBP, additional research are wanted to guage its formal indications, indications for the multilevel method, time between procedures, preferrred quantity of blood injected, greatest blood product, and general efficacy and efficacy.